The scenario Tuesday night at the UCCU Center seemed to favor the overdue Wolverines, and they responded with a 62-59 win over the Wildcats.
Holton Hunsaker scored nine of his 14 points in the final 8:15 and Hayes Garrity added 13 to lead Utah Valley to victory. Davion Berry scored 20 points for Weber State, but his turnover in the final seconds prevented the Wildcats from getting a shot for the lead.
After Utah Valley improved to 4-5 this season, coach Dick Hunsaker credited Weber State and praised his players.
"Weber, I thought, played hard," he said. "I'm sure they will look back and feel like they had opportunities in the game. But I give our kids a lot of credit for fighting throughout. ... I'm just very pleased and proud we were able to grind out such a good victory."
Utah Valley took a 33-26 halftime lead, as Weber showed some signs of rustiness from its 11-day layoff. After the Wolverines took a 39-28 lead with 17:50 remaining, however, the Wildcats fought back.
Weber took a 52-51 lead and had the momentum with 5:24 remaining before Hunsaker buried a long three-pointer.
The shot came two possessions after he had air-balled another three.
"I've been struggling with my shooting all year," said Hunsaker, a senior guard and son of the coach. "But honestly, my teammates have continued to have confidence in me. ... They've kept encouraging me to keep shooting."
Asked about not hesitating on his huge three-pointer, Hunsaker smiled and said, "I was open, so I shot the shot."
Still, the game was far from finished.
Utah Valley owned a 60-57 lead before Berry made two free throws with 33 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats fouled Hunsaker, who missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Weber got the ball to Berry, who drove and had a pass knocked to the floor. Hunsaker dove on the ball and Utah Valley called timeout.
After the Wolverines inbounded, Garrity made the free throws. When Berry missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer, UVU snapped a three-game losing streak.
"Collectively, I thought it was a great effort," Dick Hunsaker said. "The hustle. The scrapping. The clawing. Digging down. Feeling the pain from the previous three games we've had. ...
"I've coached a long time and you don't get the character I have on this team the resiliency, the stand-up people that they are. ... I'm just very pleased they were able to be rewarded tonight."
O Holton Hunsaker scores 14 points to lead Utah Valley past Weber State.
• Davion Berry finishes with 20 points for the Wildcats, who slip to 1-4 this season.
Utah Valley 62, Weber State 59
WEBER ST. (1-4)
Richardson 2-6 0-0 5, Berry 4-10 10-11 20, Bolomboy 4-8 1-1 9, Senglin 1-5 1-2 4, Tresnak 1-10 1-2 3, Gittens 3-4 0-0 7, Fulton 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 3-4 0-0 8, Hill 1-2 1-2 3.
Totals 19-50 14-18 59.
UTAH VALLEY (4-5)
Enos 2-3 0-0 5, Hunsaker 4-10 4-5 14, Bruneel 2-3 1-2 5, Nelson 6-16 0-0 12, Aird 2-11 3-4 7, Garrity 4-15 3-3 13, Evans 2-2 0-1 4, Ross 1-2 0-0 2.
Totals 23-62 11-15 62.
HalftimeUtah Valley St. 33-26. 3-Point GoalsWeber St. 7-20 (Williams 2-3, Berry 2-7, Gittens 1-1, Senglin 1-4, Richardson 1-4, Fulton 0-1), Utah Valley St. 5-14 (Hunsaker 2-4, Garrity 2-5, Enos 1-1, Nelson 0-1, Bruneel 0-1, Aird 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsWeber St. 35 (Bolomboy, Tresnak 8), Utah Valley St. 43 (Nelson 10). AssistsWeber St. 12 (Richardson 5), Utah Valley St. 12 (Nelson 4). Total FoulsWeber St. 15, Utah Valley St. 16. A2,921.